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Large-scale temperature response to external forcing in simulations and reconstructions of the last millennium


Fernandez-Donado, L and Gonzales-Rouco, JF and Raible, CC and Ammann, CM and Barriopedro, D and Garcia-Bustamante, E and Jungclaus, JH and Lorenz, SJ and Luterbacher, J and Phipps, SJ and Servonnat, J and Swingedouw, D and Tett, SFB and Wagner, S and Yiou, P and Zorita, E, Large-scale temperature response to external forcing in simulations and reconstructions of the last millennium, Climate of the Past, 9 pp. 393-421. ISSN 1814-9324 (2013) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2013 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

DOI: doi:10.5194/cp-9-393-2013


Understanding natural climate variability and its driving factors is crucial to assessing future climate change. Therefore, comparing proxy-based climate reconstructions with forcing factors as well as comparing these with paleoclimate model simulations is key to gaining insights into the relative roles of internal versus forced variability. A review of the state of modelling of the climate of the last millennium prior to the CMIP5–PMIP3 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5–Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project Phase 3) coordinated effort is presented and compared to the available temperature reconstructions. Simulations and reconstructions broadly agree on reproducing the major temperature changes and suggest an overall linear response to external forcing on multidecadal or longer timescales. Internal variability is found to have an important influence at hemispheric and global scales. The spatial distribution of simulated temperature changes during the transition from the Medieval Climate Anomaly to the Little Ice Age disagrees with that found in the reconstructions. Thus, either internal variability is a possible major player in shaping temperature changes through the millennium or the model simulations have problems realistically representing the response pattern to external forcing. A last millennium transient climate response (LMTCR) is defined to provide a quantitative framework for analysing the consistency between simulated and reconstructed climate. Beyond an overall agreement between simulated and reconstructed LMTCR ranges, this analysis is able to single out specific discrepancies between some reconstructions and the ensemble of simulations. The disagreement is found in the cases where the reconstructions show reduced covariability with external forcings or when they present high rates of temperature change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate models, palaeoclimate, last millennium
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Palaeoclimatology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate change models
UTAS Author:Phipps, SJ (Dr Steven Phipps)
ID Code:104718
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:112
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-11-18
Last Modified:2017-10-30
Downloads:280 View Download Statistics

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